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1[mass noun] The style of simultaneously combining a number of parts, each forming an individual melody and harmonizing with each other:‘his love affair with 16th-century English polyphony’
euphony, polyphony, consonanceView synonyms
- ‘This frees McFerrin to experiment with musical forms ranging from Medieval polyphony to African folk music.’
- ‘The characteristic feature of Georgian folk music is polyphony.’
- ‘Messiaen's almost Pentecostal polyphony not only makes us hear traditional melodies with new ears, it also makes us return to nature and listen to those sounds with a deeper spiritual understanding.’
- ‘The combination of melodies in polyphony, one of the great artistic achievements of medieval Europe, has produced the need for a more specialized explanation of melody in Western music.’
- ‘What surprised me was that a group from the opera chorus, joined by some students, wanted to give a whole concert of Renaissance polyphony, a style of music which the Russians never fostered.’
- 1.1[count noun] A composition written, played, or sung in polyphony.
- ‘This particularly brilliant and beautiful instrument illuminates the most complex orchestral and choral polyphonies of Bach and Handel.’
- ‘My favourite part is the quintet; it is a heavenly polyphony.’
- 1.2 The ability of an electronic keyboard or synthesizer to play a number of notes simultaneously:‘the polyphony is a standard 32-voice’
- ‘If you expect to exceed the polyphony limits of your keyboard with any regularity, check out what it does when you push the envelope.’
- ‘In effect, your keyboard can now be played with polyphony (simultaneous sounds) as high as the number of channels selected for Jazz Edit mode.’
- ‘Using two iterations, I had nine polyphonic instruments up and running, with polyphony occasionally spilling over 100 notes simultaneously.’
Early 19th century: from Greek poluphōnia, from polu- many + phōnē sound.
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